Is This God?

11 10 2007

I was sitting in Truett’s chapel exactly one week ago at the Parchman lectures as Dr. Ben Witherington III talked about the fact that Lazarus is most likely the beloved disciple in the gospel of John (yes, Lazarus, not John) when a thought, or an idea, or a prayer, or something like that came to mind.

It had nothing to do with John. Err… Lazarus.

Anywho, I’ve been struggling lately with exactly what I want to do with my life. I know I’m going to “be in ministry,” but that’s awefully vague, and frankly, I’m not even sure what that means (since, in fact, all Christians are called to be ministers of the gospel). And this is why I’m at Truett.

I’ve been thinking about youth ministry, and, I am somewhat sad to say that youth ministry is not my long term calling (sorry, Western Heights). God has surely taught me this much.

I’ve also thought about teaching in some capacity within the church, and this sounds pretty cool. And I’ve even thought about going and getting my PhD so that I could possibly teach on a university or seminary level.

But for some reason a thought entered my head at the Parchman lectures as Dr. Witherington did his thing. I had to write it down. I don’t know why it even entered my brain because I was actually quite focused on what Dr. Witherington was talking about, and this had nothing to do with what he was saying whatsoever. Nor have I thought about it at all in terms of my own life goals…

Social justice.

Christian ethics.

Peace making.

Suddenly, an excitement came over me. This is what I want to do! Immediately, I thought about the implications of this. How could I pursue social justice, Christian ethics, and the concept of peace making in terms of my life practice and in terms of applying my life practice to broader social issues? This works nicely with my previous aspirations of furthering my education, but now I have a focus. I’m now thinking that I want to pursue a ThM with a concentration in ethics either at Fuller or Princeton, and then pursue a PhD somewhere, somehow. But these degrees are not degrees simply so I can have degrees. I really want to serve God, to discover what it means for the church to be an agent of social justice and peace because, frankly, in its most popular forms, the church is not acting as an agent of peace or justice.

So now, a week later, I’m turning ideas over in my head, and all of these ideas are seeming to be confirmed by random events this week, and I don’t know if this is merely some kind of self-fulfilled prophecy.

For one, I talked with my wife, and, of course, she was supportive and even excited for me as she always is.

Then, I talked with my good friend Cruz about it, and he was really excited.

Then, I got this Relevant Magazine package that we receive for our youth ministry at the church, and it was filled with items that focus on the social action of the church. Most notably, it had Brian McLaren’s new book, Everything Must Change (of which I will speak of soon), which I read in two days on my trip to Jackson and which even further got me thinking about social justice and peace-making. Additionally, one of the magazines in the package features an outstanding article, “Belief to action: Taking your group beyond conversion to discipleship.” And finally, the Robbie Seay Band’s new CD was included in the package, and it explodes with a message of action.

Another weird thing: as I was at Union doing the whole recruiting thing, I had the privilege of speaking with a student who was concerned with ethics and social action. He told me about his desires for ministry, and I was floored because it resonated so well with what had come to my mind this week.

Finally, this weekend Baylor’s Center for Jewish Studies is hosting an international conference entitled: Interfaith Journeys on the Road to Liberation. The conference is focused on liberation theology, and it has brought speakers and theologians from around the world who have experienced and practiced liberation theology. Today, I went to a luncheon for this conference and was privileged to hear Dr. Allan Boesak speak. Dr. Boesak was/is a Christian leader in the liberation movement in South Africa, and his message today was absolutely amazing, again confirming what I have been thinking about all week long – the need for the church to stand up for justice and peace.

If God is in this, I suppose my excitement will continue, and I suppose that doors will open along the way. If this is indeed of God, and I think that it is, then I will certainly jump in head-first and never look back.

We’ll see, I guess.

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4 responses

12 10 2007
Adam

Did you post this before the conversation with Scandrette last night? If so, that would seem to be yet another “random event.” Did it relate to these things you have been thinking about?

This is exciting stuff Marc – I’m glad to hear that you’re thinking about all this. Thanks for putting it out here.

12 10 2007
april

im excited for you!!

13 10 2007
Halpin

yeah… I posted this before we met with Scandrette. Yet another weird thing.

I’m not normally one to look for ‘signs’ because I’m not so sure that that’s actually how God works all the time in real life, but this has been a rather strange week.

21 10 2007
Mike Arrington

Marc, this sounds incredibly cool. I”m excited for you. I also need to talk to you at some point, probably next Sunday, if you’re available. And how was Everything Must Change? I haven’t had time to read it yet, but I’m still really excited about it.

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